Monthly Archives: June 2017

Final Fantasy XV – Finally Popped my Final Fantasy Cherry

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Says 33hrs on the certificate I got on completing the game (cute). That’s doing a few side missions, but I did more of them in the beginning of the game than towards the end (IE: there are a billion more quests left for me to do in the game).

cindy
Cindy’s hot, got bolt on boobs, and is your Regalia’s mechanic. She ends up upgrading the Regalia so it can fly, and man, after not being allowed to drive for the entire game (it’s auto pilot), being able to fly post game is NUTS and makes me wonder why I couldn’t fly from the start (and that the games developers are crazy and I love it!)

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Post game activities, flying around the gorgeous world in the Regalia.

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As much as I hate the crazy auto pilot driving, it was also so strangely relaxing and enjoyable in a watching post race rendered vids of a race in Gran Turismo kinda way.

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I’m gonna miss you bros. It’s been emotional. Sunsets were awesome in the game, and the game really makes you fear night which I thought was a cool touch.

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Speaking of darkness, the Pitioss Ruins. The most hardcore platforming puzzle shit I’ve ever done, those who know know! Massive high 5 to anyone who completed the fucker!

I’ve never played a Final Fantasy game. As much as I love most Japanese culture, I’m not into the pink and cutesy girly Anime stuff which is how I’ve always looked at Final Fantasy. A billion people out there can’t be wrong though, and their latest game (which was in development for 10 years!) had me intrigued as it’s an open-world JRPG (music to my ears) where you play a character who has 3 close mates who set about on an American style road trip.

It’s trippy as all hell as it’s so Japanese, but the world is so Nevada. I love the world LOTS. I love all the silly fetch quests too. I really enjoyed playing with my 3 bros along side me, so much so that in later missions when I was separated from them I missed them. The cheesey music got to me in to me in the end, the lore did too (the open world gameplay to the lore specific bits are so juxtaposed it’s almost like 2 different worlds, but it still worked for me). It’s a road trip but you don’t get to drive, or do anything much in this game really. Driving is like teleporting, and you can beat all enemies by mashing a button, or if you’re too lazy to do that just hold the button down. Yup. Final Fantasy is an EASY game. It’s like a movie game, but I hear people complaining more than ever that it’s just too hard, and maybe that’s why I like it, because if it was any easier it would be ridiculous.

Having said that. I finished the game and got into the story more than the gameplay. Basically everyone dies. They make you fall in love with people, then they kill everyone then you kill yourself. I had a gut feeling that this was what Final Fantasy was all about; LOSS, and yup, it’s a pretty fucked up story, but it’s a really fun game! Again, love the juxtaposition, it’s truly unique.

PS: Once you finish the main story you can return to the open world, from there you can do post game activities and one of them is the Pitioss Ruins, a secret dungeon that you have to fly to (you car can be modified to fly, it’s actually pretty damn epic!), it’s only marked with a tiny yellow line on the map, and that yellow line is a runway. The runway is so short I crashed out a few times trying to land (super frustrating as this game has LONG load times!), and once I landed I had to wait until night for the secret door to open. Then I was thrust into the most hardcore platforming game I’ve ever played, made super hardcore because there’s a sever gumminess to Final Fantasy XV’s character control.

Push your controller forward and your character takes 3 steps forward, this makes it nearly impossible to do precision jumping/tightroping in puzzle like environments, but one evil fucker at Square Enix designed this monster of a maze, and it took me almost 5 hours to complete (in the end I had to use an online guide too). Amazing a game can be so easy all you do is press a button to win it, but then you have this thing… it’s crazy! You go through the pain to complete the dungeon to get lots of loot, but one pice in particular which lets Noctis, your character auto-dodge enemy attacks (as if the game wasn’t easy enough as it is!!!).

The crazy thing is that once I checked out the guide, and read the comments below the guide video, I read that a fair few people also struggled with the dungeon, and also spent 4-5 hours in there, then on completion, and resurfacing they hopped into their Regalia (our flying car) only to crash on take-off as the landing strip is too short, losing all 5 hours of gameplay and all items looted in the dungeon. Holy FUCK that would make me rage SO damn hard! I’m SO glad I read the comments and made sure to save straight after completing the dungeon (I even paid to get the car towed to the garage rather than even attempting to fly off the strip!).

PPS: Steam has a HUGE sale on right now and pretty much every single game I’ve got on the wishlist is half price now, or even less. I ended up pulling the trigger on Borderlands 2, which should be Co-Op fun with Ved, and also Dark Souls 3 to fuck my life.

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Rich Dad Poor Dad

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Repeat after me: “Money is not evil”.

Has anyone read that book “Rich Dad Poor Dad”? Yeah I haven’t either, but it’s got something to do with me in that I was born into wealth, and ever since being aware of it (high school pretty much) I’ve been more guilty of it than anything else, so much so that I’ve made it my life’s goal to use the position to do greater good for others.

I’m good at a lot of things, but making money isn’t one of them. I’ve spent my life creating not-for-profit communities. I’ve put my money and my soul into each and every one of them and never felt the need to get anything back but positive feedback (which is my preferred currency). I’ve frustrated the fuck out of business partners who have in the end had to leave the business because I just refused to make money.

I’ve had countless conversations with friends, about the disservice I’m doing to the industry. IE: If I am a professional graphic designer charging people $500 for a logo (or worse yet doing it for free which I do all the fucking time), then how the fuck has any other designer, especially ones starting out have a chance?

Getting on topic. We’ve just changed the pricing of all our goods in the ZEN GARAGE online shop in an attempt to get more sales (in an attempt to make more money). Where a T-Shirt cost $40 before, it’s now $39.95. I literally had friends tell me that if they had 2 T’s in front of them; one was $40 and the other $39.95 they’d buy the cheaper one, even if it’s only by 5 cents! This is killing me. I then did a fair bit of research into what others are doing (not that I really care), but hey even the God I met last week (Shepard Fairey/OBEY) does it with his goods, so if he does it then it’s OK if I do it too?!

I can’t feel good about the move, and if it does generate more sales then it’ll be bitter sweet, but the reality of it is that ZEN GARAGE is doing great, and has always done great since 2011, but we’ve never made a salary or any real money out of the business. We only make enough to pour it back in to make another run of stock, and even then we usually fail to re-stock as we don’t have enough money in the bank (which explains why our hoodies come out in summer most times haha!).

“Hallelujah!” is what my business partner Rob had to say; “I’ve been in the business for 6 years waiting for you to wake up!”. More profit means being able to have our staple range in stock all year round and it’ll also allow us to up the quality of our goods as well as design more new products and I’m excited about that.

Visit: https://shop.zengarage.com.au

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OBEY

obey

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NIOH – Done and loved it

laststage
“The Demon King Revealed” is the final (and best) mission in the game and is my go to farming mission when I need to gather more amrita to level up.

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Love that my character gets rendered into the cut scenes ( in whatever it is I chose to wear and wield/shoot).

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My end game stats.

I’ve finally finished NIOH, and man it was awesome, so much so that I even kept on playing into New Game+ and I’m the one who’s starting to help other players level up now at shrines.

I’ll just leave some punchy afterthoughts:

Positives:
– The lore. Man, Japan.

– The orchestral soundtrack is so deep; juxtaposing demonic rumbling loops to zen tranquility on stage screens helps to set the tone so well I had to leave it on (I usually turn music off in games).

– “The Demon King Revealed” mission is so good I’ve played it daily since finishing the game, also “The Iga Escape” mission makes all your Ninja fantasies come true.

– Just when you think you’re done, the game gives you more and more sub-missions. Easy 100 hours (can’t be sure as PS4 doesn’t track your game time… silly I know). That’s being a completionist though (yup that’s me!).

– Best melee action game I’ve ever played as the stances and combos give you so much more than just button mashing. Feels good to play but not as connected to the controller as “The Surge” (which felt SO good).

– Hardcore RPG (more complex than most RPG games I’ve played) but totally intuitive. The game is so well paced. When you spend amrita on levelling up, or gold at the blacksmith post mission you’re always left with a little bit within reach of the next upgrade, so in you go again and again. It’s super addictive!

– Summoning visitors at shrines for help, or helping others (and never knowing what mission or stage within a mission they need help with) is a huge part of the game for me. I prefer playing NIOH with a companion than without (the missions with NPC companions are absolutely awesome too!).

Negatives:
– Just can’t get over low res textures/graphics on the PS4. I really really wish this game came out on PC.

– There’s no “base” or “home” and I wish there was.

– I would have loved this game even more if I could create my own character.

– It’s awesome that you can re-skin any piece of armour or weapon in the game at any time, but the thumbnail previews are so small, a live preview would really make dress-ups more fun.

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OBEY

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obey

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I was in Tokyo in the 90’s and saw a construction site plastered in OBEY posters. Not knowing what it was, except that it look fucking cool, I took a shot. Years later I found out the artwork was created by LA based Artist Shepard Fairey, who has roots in graphic design and skating (it all makes so much sense as his OBEY GIANT graphic speaks skate culture so loudly).

I have a signed OBEY GIANT artwork framed above my television (Obey the TV/Television the drug of a nation), and I’ve got a couple of Shepard’s books too. I don’t consider myself a fanboy of many, but I’m definitely a huge fan of Shepard Fairey and all he’s done (if it was me I’d love to see the word ZEN in place of OBEY!).

The magicians at aMBUSH Gallery managed to get him in to do a huge wall across the road from The Ivy in Sydney’s CBD (it looks amazing!), and last night they held a little VIP event where Nanami invited me to be her +1 to meet the God amongst men!

More photos on ZEN Blog: http://www.zengarage.com.au/2017/06/obey-sydney/

PS: Yes that’s Jamie Durie!!! A mate of mine was outside the event, and managed to get in as he expressed interest in buying artwork for a future development, he then introduced me to his mate who turns out to be Jamie Durie. He was way shorter than I thought he would be (and I let him know LOL!). Such a rad guy, great vibes, had a great little chat with him.

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Nioh

nioh
Sadly Nioh is for PS4 only, that means jaggy low res graphics! Such a shame, this game would look amazing with high res textures on PC.

loading
Love the loading screen lore, the cinematics and illustrated movies too.

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Japan (the map).

ninja
One really cool thing you can do at the blacksmith is change every bit of your appearance to any other piece of gear you’ve looted in the game, both armour and weapons too so you can pretty much make William look however you want, from heavy Samurai gear to Ninja outfits (I’m wearing medium Samurai Warrior armour but my character looks like a Ninja atm).

weapons
How mad is my rifle! I’m right at home with more and more different RPG’s now and I’ve really taken to Nioh’s interface, the whole lot of it; crafting, re-calibrating, merging gear, distributing skill points for opening skill trees, etc. Nioh is pretty hardcore and has the works.

I really really enjoyed playing The Surge, so much so played a complete 2nd new game+ playthrough. I now feel content and I’m well and truly done with the game, which makes me feel sad so I thought I’d look into other games in the same genre; namely Dark Souls, Dark Souls 3, Nioh and Lords of the Fallen (which was made by Deck13 the same guys who made The Surge).

I spent some time researching Dark Souls. I’d say it’s 50/50 out there between fans of the original verses the last. The original seems to suffer from clunky mechanics, which wouldn’t fly after playing The Surge (I loved how connected the action felt) and issues with Windows 10. Dark Souls 3 seems like the obvious choice, but I’ve been waiting for a Steam sale to pull the trigger on that.

I did some research into Lords of the Fallen as I figured it would share a lot in common with The Surge as it’s made by the same team. The reviews suggest it’s a little too easy to complete, and recent reviews suggest that gameplay isn’t as tight as The Surge, so I’ve put this game on the wishlist for a Steam sale too.

That leaves Nioh, a game which many compare to Dark Souls but suggest it’s even more brutal, and where the others are rooted in the Lord of the Rings style realm, Nioh differs in that it’s SO Japan (SO GOOD!).

The game follows the adventures of William (based on real historic figure William Adams, the first legit non-Japanese Samurai who forever changed Japan) and is loosely based off the Sengoku period, when Japan was in the midst of war prior to the ascension of the Tokugawa shogunate (so rad as this brings back recent Japan trip memories!).

I’m literally being educated in the art of Japanese weapons and Samurai armour. I’ve even been introduced to Hattori Hanzo and I’m smashing Yokai with a Kusarigama!

Progress has been slow but I love to grind. You can’t get to the recommended levels by just completing the main missions and side missions, it’s true RNG/RPG so I’ve needed to grind pretty hard in order to play more comfortably.

I’ve had more than a few “I quit” moments. Like most I almost quit early on as the 2nd Boss battle in Nioh with Hino-enma was sadistic (those who know know!!!). It’s so wild that a game introduces new players to the hardest boss in the game on the 2nd level. I’d say a huge percentage of people who bought this game would have returned it/given up before getting to enjoy the rest of the game!

Update: I’m 2 stages away from the end, each new section of the map has been way more hardcore than the last and I’ve just about had enough of the massive boss fights so I’m calling a tie out to maybe re-visit some older parts of the map before finishing my first playthrough.

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